Growing Grass under Trees

In an earlier post, we discussed the challenges associated with mowing around trees. The post mainly focused on how difficult it is to protect your tree, and how you can mow the grass without sacrificing your tree’s health. At the same time, you don’t want to focus on your tree at the expense of your lawn, and it can be a real challenge to successfully grow grass underneath the broad canopy of a tall tree. You don’t want to remove the canopy, but you also don’t want to have poor soil surrounding the tree. Today, we review the reasons why grass has trouble growing underneath trees, what you can do to keep both your trees and the surrounding grass alive and well.

Growing Grass Under a Tree is Easier Said than Done

Why is growing grass below trees so difficult?

Trees tend to inhibit grass growth because of the shade offered by the canopy. What’s more, as they continues to grow, the level of shade increases and the grass begins to suffer even more. The bottom line is that grass and trees compete for the same sunlight, and the height of the trees makes it so that the grass receives too little sun and has trouble growing. Additionally, when it rains, the trees absorb all of the moisture and the grass does not receive sufficient water. This makes it so that the soil dries out, further contributing to the growing issues with the grass.

What can you do to help grass grow?

There are many approaches you can take to facilitate your grass growing. First, try and plant a grass variety that is more conducive to shade, such as fescue. Because the grass does not grow as rapidly, you will not need to fertilize as often. The grass seeds should be sown in during early fall and spring, so be sure not to neglect these important grass growing steps. To help your soil absorb water, you may want to aerate your soil and make it less compact. Mowing too short may also hurt the grass, and you should consider keeping the grass just a bit longer than the rest of the grass on your lawn. To assist your grass in its growing efforts, you also need to make sure to prune; obviously, you don’t want to prune all of the branches off your proud tree, but subtle pruning can go a long way toward helping your grass get the water and sun it needs to keep growing. Finally, consider contacting an arborist in order to remove some of the roots that may be preventing the grass from absorbing sunlight and moisture.

Trees are challenging because they can keep grass from growing but are often a focal point for the yard. It takes very careful maintenance to keep trees grass growing successfully underneath them, so pay close attention to make sure that your grass receives the shade and sunlight it needs.

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